It’s important to remember the successes too


In the wake of the government shutdown, it seems that every news segment concerning the government is engulfed in a negative connotation. From criticism of both sides of the political spectrum to overall complaints regarding situations, I can’t remember the last time I saw the government viewed in a positive light.

Regardless of political belief or affiliation, there are extremely few who are wholeheartedly content with the state of our federal government; everyone has something to complain about. But perhaps it would be more beneficial to all if a sprinkle of positivity worked jointly with the pessimism.

Believe me when I say that I’m just as angered and agitated as the next person about the government shutdown and the government’s seemingly decreasing ability to function for the common good. State-wise, let’s also not forget that it’s been over four years, and Flint still does not have clean water. But I’m getting off topic.

Recently, I’ve been trying to be less negative and adopt more of a “the glass is half-full” outlook. In this spirit, I’ve realized that it’s not hard to see that despite the numerous downfalls of our government, there are an equal, or arguably higher, number of victories that occur every day.

In recognizing these successes and examining how and why they occurred, more and more frequent conquests might occur in the future. This is not to say to completely overlook the numerous issues surrounding the governmental systems, but rather to analyze triumphs in conjunction with failures.

One such triumph that really stood out to me regarded the USDA. Food and Nutrition services updated their policies surrounding school nutrition last year, leading to dozens of districts nationally offering free lunches. In New York City alone, over one million children now qualify for free lunches, thanks to the work of the USDA. And despite an overall federal disregard for climate change, 388 mayors and 15 states have supported the Paris Climate agreement, indicating that hope for a responsible attitude towards the environment is not completely lost. Victories like these might seem small, but in the long run, they impact millions.

Additionally, despite the headline-worthy condemnation that has taken place in the mitten over the last few years, it’s important to note that, as a whole, Michigan is on an upwards trend. Over the last decade, the unemployment rate has been slashed in half, and in the last three years, over $1.2 billion have been set aside to fix the state’s roads.

So while social and public health sectors of our state’s government undoubtedly need to improve, financially, we should appreciate the fact that Michigan is truly advancing.

Even locally, within our town and city, there are victories to take pride in. The Forest Hills school board worked tirelessly to promote the $130 million bond concept to the community, leading to the bill passing with an overwhelming majority. This massive sum of money will transform the school district, but it’s often overlooked, in lieu of other local criticisms.

Between the national government, state government, and even our local city and township governments, too many successes are overlooked because of the heavily-publicized criticisms and conflicts. After all, government is not just the Capitol, immigration laws, and Congress; local libraries, parks, education boards, and councils are government too. As invaluable public services, triumphs can be found in those places every single day.

The bottom line is that circumstances could be much more dire, much more distressing, or much more dangerous. So while we should never cease political activism and fighting for what we believe is right, it’s also important to revel in the successes that have already been found.